Wednesday, June 11, 2008
CON EDISON....."ON IT!"
My what a difference a day makes. Dozens of Con Edison crews and their equipment have descended on Carroll Gardens. They've spent four days here now, digging, probing, fixing and connecting. Their initial response was in order to get the electricity restored to several hundred customers in Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens. Some people were without air conditioning in near 100 degree heat for 24-hours.
Con Ed says some businesses and residents affected by this outage qualify for compensation. Residents may file a claim, up to a maximum of $450, for actual losses of food spoiled due to lack of refrigeration. Receipts or photos are needed for any claim over $200.
Businesses can get compensation for losses up to $9,000 for perishable items spoiled due to lack of refrigeration. Claims must include an itemized list and proof of loss and be filed within 30 days of the date of the power outage.
You can do all of this online by going to Con Ed's website, www.coned.com, click on Customer Central, and then Claims.
Also, a new nifty feature installed on the website after the debacle in Astoria a few years ago is an interactive outage map. Go to the Customer Central tab, then click on Storm Central. It gives you a neighborhood by neighborhood breakdown of how many people are without power. Right now, several thousand people in Queens remain in the dark and it looks like the Hudson Valley was hit hard by severe thunderstorms on Tuesday night.
So back to the fix-it job. Now, four days after the power went out, Con Ed crews continue to dig. This is obviously more than a patch up job. In fact, I asked a few Con Ed guys what was going on. They now have new marching orders. Instead of patch and run, they really are "on it." One worker told me the company has spent about 1.8billion dollars so far this year on major infrastructure repairs. They plan to spend even more than that next year, he tells me. So what's happening is, once they arrive in a neighborhood to repair damage, they attempt to fix it for good. That's why an entire block of Smith street and part of Court street are being dug up. All new everything goes down in the hole.
Of course, this all creates a new problem, a major traffic jam stretching from Bergen street all the way back to near Hamilton Avenue, pretty much the entire length of Smith street. Side streets are also backing up. Add to that irate drivers who are blasting their horns, not aware that the street ahead is shutdown and there's not much they can do. What Con Edison or the city should do in cases like this is post signs blocks ahead of the problem, alerting motorists that the street is closed and that if they want, they can cut down a side street to avoid the mess. Just about every stranded driver I talked to had no clue of what was ahead. Had they, they wouldn't be honking their horns and they would have detoured around the jam.
Despite some of my previous biting remarks about Con Edison, I now believe they have learned much from their mistakes of the past. They have that cool interactive outage map online and they appear to have a new plan in place striving for a permanent and long-lasting fix to their problems.